By Chris King • 02 January 2022 • 20:42
If Covid admissions increase, NHS could start cancelling operations.
A stark warning came today, Sunday, January 2, courtesy of Chris Hopson, the head of NHS Providers. The NHS chief pointed out that operations could start being cancelled if Covid cases keep increasing.
Speaking with The Telegraph, Mr Hopson said, “If the Covid-19 caseload does rise, and it is accompanied by significant staff absences, then something will have to give, and lower priority elective surgery would be the conventional way forward”.
In a long Twitter post, he argued that compared to last January, the NHS, and hospitals, are under a different type of pressure. As predicted, the rapid spread of Omicron has translated into a higher volume of hospital admissions. An increase of 68 per cent is reported in just one week.
“The NHS is now under different, arguably more, pressure compared to last January. Much busier urgent and emergency care pathway. Many more planned care cases that cannot be delayed without patient harm. The booster vaccination campaign is significantly more resource-intensive, and complex”, he continued.
Adding, “Staff absences are having a greater impact in many trusts. Much greater pressure on social and primary care. The NHS – community, mental health, ambulances, and hospitals alike – and social care, are beyond full stretch. Staff are facing a mountainous workload, day in, and day out”.
Since the start of the pandemic, many deaths have already been known to have occurred due to the cancellation of potentially life-saving surgeries. Many patients – non-Covid related – are currently in need of urgent treatment.
According to The Telegraph, ministers have been shown modelling that indicated hospital admissions are increasing by 50 per cent every 16 days. This would mean a peak around the middle of the month.
Last week, an announcement was made by the NHS regarding the setting up in hospitals of ‘surge hubs’. These will be used to cater for patients who are recovered but not yet fit enough to be discharged. As pointed out by Mr Hopson, the problem is going to be finding staff to man them.
More than 110,000 NHS staff were absent from duty on New Year’s Eve according to figures reportedly seen by The Sunday Times, as reported by metro.co.uk.
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Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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